This Weekend At The Movies (Jan. 20-22)

HAYWIRE

MP’s PICK OF THE WEEK

Directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Starring Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas and Michel Douglas.

Beautiful freelance covert operative Mallory Kane is hired out by her handler to various global entities to perform jobs which governments can’t authorize and heads of state would rather not know about. After a mission to rescue a hostage in Barcelona, Mallory is quickly dispatched on another mission to Dublin. When the operation goes awry and Mallory finds she has been double crossed, she needs to use all of her skills, tricks and abilities to escape an international manhunt, make it back to the United States, protect her family, and exact revenge on those that have betrayed her.

I’m not going to comment much on Haywire as I have a review of the film here.  Needless to say, I really enjoyed the hell out of this movie and cannot wait to watch it again.  Soderbergh seems to be on a pretty good streak recently.  I definitely recommend checking it out.

UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING 3D

Directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein.  Starring Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley and Stephen Rea.

The vampire warrioress Selene escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans.  She discovers the humans are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species and must put a stop to it.

With this new installment in the Underworld franchise, the world of Selene shoots into the third dimension.  The film, shot natively in 3D, is one that I could recommend safely purchasing a 3D ticket for, no potential crappy conversions to be had here.  Whether or not you want to pay the premium price for a movie like this, well that’s completely up to you.  I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the Underworld franchise but I do enjoy them for what they are, silly action films with a very hot leading lady.  I’m also a fan of the horror genre so it being steeped in that genre doesn’t hurt it.  I honestly am not expecting much out of the film except (hopefully) well staged action scenes, cool camerawork and Kate Beckinsale in tight fitting leather.  Len Wiseman is not directing this time around, though he is involved at the script and producing levels, and in his place are two unknown Swedish directors.  I’ve seen some interviews with those two guys and they promise something we haven’t seen yet.  I don’t know that I believe them but they are welcome to prove me wrong.  Either way, I will be paying the extra few bucks for the 3D screening this weekend and hope to have some fun with some of those crazy vampires and lycans.

RED TAILS

Directed by Anthony Hemingway.  Starring Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parker, Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelley, Leslie Odom Jr., Ne-Yo, Method Man and Brian Cranston.

As America waged war on fascism overseas, African Americans took up the fight, battling not only our enemies abroad but also a culture of prejudice reflected in the laws and attitudes of the time, a culture that extended into the ranks of the military itself.  Against this backdrop, many young black men heeded the call to serve their country and ultimately become the true American heroes known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Red Tails feels like a movie that should be of importance but looks like it may end up being a failed history story turned spectacle movie.  I’ll be the first to admit that the aerial dog fighting looks pretty damn sweet but the focus of the movie should be the Tuskegee Airmen and their contribution to history.  Sadly, we have George Lucas producing the film (as well as rumors that he took control of the movie away from Hemingway) and that could equate to lackluster story and characters since he seemingly has lost his capability to create something of quality anymore.  The reviews I’ve seen haven’t been very positive and while I do want to see it for the aerial scenes, I am in no rush.  This will more than likely end up being a Netflix rental for me further down the road.

There are two films that were previously in limited release that are expanding wider this weekend, Shame and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  I really want to see Shame, which stars Michael Fassbender and Carrie Mulligan, which deals with sex addiction and is supposed to be really good.  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is something I have very little interest in, despite featuring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.  I’ve read many reviews on it stating that it is among one of the worst films of 2011 and that the child actor in it is really bad (he apparently was discovered on the TV show Jeopardy).  I say go for Haywire or Shame, if it’s playing near you, those are your best options this weekend.

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